Small businesses trying to bring in new leads or customers may be mystified by the complexities of digital marketing. We get it; search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like a tall order, especially with Google constantly changing their algorithm. This article will outline two very important strategies to kick your SEO into gear, ultimately allowing you to rise in the Google rankings, boost your website traffic, and convert site visitors into new customers.
Boost Your Blog With Quality (Long-Form) Content
Perhaps you already have a content marketing strategy in place — you update your blog regularly, but you’re still not seeing significant results. This is quite common among small business owners who simply haven’t had the time to dedicate to the outstanding quality content Google expects in 2019. In the past, a 300-word blog post on a basic topic was sufficient to rank on those important keywords that draw in hot leads. Today, that is not the case. Over 2 million blog posts are published on the internet each day, so the competition is fierce. Your blog post needs to stand out, and the best way to do that is to make sure your content is in line with your ideal customer’s needs.
Here, we’re talking about searcher intent. Google’s main goal is to provide searchers with helpful information and clear, straightforward answers to their questions. If you can identify what your ideal customer’s pain points are, and you can solve their problems with actionable advice in a blog post, Google will be more inclined to move your content to the top of the search results.
So that’s our first tip: Get to you know your ideal customer. Identify their problems and anticipate their questions. Answer those questions in excruciating detail in a blog post.
Of course, to provide the best information on any given topic, you need to write more than 300 words. Studies show that a typical piece of content that ranks on page one of Google’s search results contains over 1,500 words. Google rewards longer content, which is ironic since most website visitors have a very short attention span and will not be likely to sit through 1,500 words. That’s where visual enhancement comes in. Graphics should be used to break up a long piece of content. Not only does this keep users engaged, but it increases their time on page, which is another ranking factor Google is suspected of using.
Writing long-form, in-depth content that is well-researched and highly relevant to your ideal customer also positions you as an expert in your field. When Google users feel they can trust you, they are likely to come back next time they have a question. They are more likely to become customers. And, perhaps, they will be more likely to share your content, which brings us to our next piece of advice: build links and promote your content.
Build Backlinks to Every Blog Post
A link acts as a vote for your website. But as in any sort of election, votes don’t just magically appear; you have to campaign for them. That’s why the dissemination and promotion of your content is key.
Email outreach remains one of the most effective methods of link-building. It may seem outdated, but we assure you it’s not. After all, how many times a day do you check your own email inbox? Do you have alerts set up on your mobile device to let you know when you’ve received an email? Email is as pervasive as ever, and we encourage you to use this technology to your advantage.
The first step is to curate a list of opted-in email addresses — people who welcome your content. One great way to add to your list is to set up an email capture pop-up on your website. This pop-up will offer a promotion of some sort, promising those who enter their email address something in return — a free sample of your product, a whitepaper, or a coupon. Users who opt in are freely giving their contact information, so they are the best audience to share your newly published content with. And if they really like your content, they will share with their own network by linking to it on their own websites.
Another way to build backlinks is to offer guest posts to websites in your industry. Contact site owners whose audiences share interests with your own, share your blog content with them, and offer to write a guest post for their site. Most site owners will give you a do-follow link back to your blog post in that guest post as long as the content is well-written, heavily researched, and extremely helpful for their readers.
The reality is that with so much web content being created each day, backlinks are the differentiating factor in the Google algorithm. In the past, a site with tons of great backlinks pointing to the home page was good enough to increase the site’s domain rating or authority. These days, each page on a site needs to have high authority, which often comes from those “votes” cast by other high authority websites. In other words, if you want your blog post to reach the first page of Google’s search results, that post needs to have backlinks.
Unfortunately, not all links are created equal. Google considers two main factors when determining the quality of a backlink: authority and relevance.
- Authority: What is the domain authority and/or page authority of the site linking to you? Greater authority = a stronger vote.
- Relevance: Is the site linking to you in the same general field as your site? Does it make sense for this site to send users to your website?
Another important factor to consider when assessing the strength of a backlink is the anchor text. Anchor text is the visible words users click on to go to a linked page. This text is usually blue and underlined. Google reads the anchor text to get a sense of what the page being linked to is about. It’s a good practice to sometimes use your targeted keywords as anchor text for links to your site, but not always. Too many links with keywords as anchor text send up a red flag to Google, who does not like to be manipulated in that way. So use keywords as anchor text in moderation.
If you’re a small business owner, finding the time to create long-form content and then promote that content may seem impossible. That’s why we recommend hiring an SEO firm to do the heavy lifting for you. Oftentimes, these digital marketing experts will outsource to the best white label SEO program companies, who have just the right resources to keep these strategies going month after month, like a network of websites they post on to build backlinks efficiently. After all, search engine optimization is not a one-time activity. It’s a process that takes time to build up. But once it does, the results will amaze you.